Canadian permanent residence: starting your new life in Montréal after your studies
Recently graduated from school? It’s time to take your head out of the books and look towards the future! So much more than a student city, Greater Montréal is a unique destination with a world of opportunities.
Get ready to find a rewarding career and embrace a promising future. If you’re looking to stay in Greater Montréal long term, the first step is to apply for your permanent resident status.
Why settling in Montréal always a smart move
Montréal and joie de vivre go hand in hand. Dynamic and cosmopolitan, the city and its neighbours, New York and Boston, are among the most important cities in North America. With its public health insurance plan, affordable tuition fees, rich cultural scene and low homicide rate, Montréal is ranked as the second best city in the world for millennials (Nestpick, 2018). The city offers a world of opportunities and an unbeatable quality of life, with a welcoming community and laidback lifestyle. Everyone who comes here would agree it’s one of the best places to live in the world.
A fast-growing job market to kick-start your career
Montréal is experiencing an economic boom, boasting an unemployment rate of just 5.9 percent as of 2019. The city ranks first among Canadian cities when it comes to the number of high-tech jobs, far ahead of Toronto and Vancouver. Greater Montréal is home to countless job opportunities in a diverse range of high-tech sectors.
A great place to live and work
“More for less” should be the official motto of Greater Montréal! In addition to its status as an economic hub in North America, the city boasts the lowest cost of living compared to other major cities in the Americas and Western Europe. With affordable rents, favourable working conditions and strong government support for healthcare, education and family life, Montréal is undoubtedly an exceptional city to live in.
Take the leap: applying for permanent residence
Quebecers are known for their unique accent, diverse culture … and immigration procedures! Before you take the leap and apply for your permanent resident status, you’ll need to obtain your Québec Selection Certificate (CSQ). This procedure is specific to the Québec system and an essential step in settling here.
Since the CSQ doesn’t represent legal status in Canada, make sure you maintain a valid temporary resident status to bridge the gap until you obtain your permanent residence. And if you’ve been studying full time for at least eight months in a Canadian university or training program, you should apply for a post-graduation work permit if you’d like to work during this transition period.
Why become a permanent resident?
Becoming a permanent resident in Canada brings a host of benefits, giving you access to the job market, healthcare coverage and other federal programs and services.
Your permanent resident status is renewable and valid for five years, allowing you to live, work or study anywhere in Canada.
If you’re looking to become an official Canadian citizen, obtaining your permanent resident status is an essential step in the application process. Ready to adopt the Canadian way of life (along with its world-famous winters!)? Here are a few things you’ll need …
You may not be asked to divulge your favourite colour or dessert, but the government will want to get to know you better. Along with your application forms, you’ll need to attach several key documents including a police certificate and your biometric ID (a.k.a. your digital fingerprint and photo).
The Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will also ask you to undergo a medical exam when processing your file.
Consult this document checklist for more information on what you’ll need to apply.
Tips for a successful application
Attention to detail is everything when it comes to your application. The process of becoming a permanent resident is accessible to everyone but it isn’t always easy, and even one small mistake on your file can hold up your application. Before you panic, take a breath and follow these helpful tips:
- Fill out every field on the form (answering “N/A” for any questions that don’t apply to you;
- Print out a hard copy and save a digital copy of your completed form;
- Provide all documents in the required format;
- Have any documents written in a language other than English or French translated by a professional where applicable;
- Make sure your application is complete before sending (incomplete applications will be returned).
To help with your application, I choose Montréal and the ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI) offer free information sessions for international students looking to live and work in Québec permanently. For more information, you can also visit the international student office at your university or college.
If in doubt, reach out the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada at 1 888 242 2100. Or enlist the services of a professional lawyer, notary or immigration consultant to help you.
Finally, give yourself the credit you deserve! Starting the journey of settling in a new place is a success in itself.
The costs of your mission (in money and in time)
Applying for permanent residence will clearly set you back more a pair of headphones from Amazon! But knowing what it will cost you in terms of time and money ahead of time will make your mission run a whole lot smoother.
The total cost, including the Québec Selection Certificate and permanent residence, will be around $2,000 CAD for the main applicant.
The processing times can vary greatly and will depend on, among other things, how long it takes for you to submit your file to the government. Consult this page for more information on how long it can take to receive an official answer.
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